I want to welcome you to the Gender Role Conflict (GRC) webpage. The GRC webpage menu is below and described in more detail on this introductory page. You can navigate to each page by clicking the corresponding box in the image below or from the menu on the left side.

Start Here: Introduction & Videos

How to Use the Webpage

 Purpose, Goals, & Rationale for the Gender Role Conflict (GRC)  Research Web Page

The web page’s purpose is to make GRC research program more accessible to researchers/clinicians via the Internet. The content in this web page can be useful to psychologists and mental health clinicians as well colleagues in other disciplines who are interested in how gender roles are conflictual for both men and women. The goal of the web page is to foster innovative thought, research and interventions on GRC that improves the lives of women, men, and transgendered people.

The web page promotes a synthesis of knowledge about GRC research, by summarizing in one place, all the past studies on specific topics.  Researchers and clinicians have access to what is known about GRC through the web page.  Over 900 published references to GRC, many of them categorized in 25 separate web files, help researchers and clinicians review past theory, find research studies and applied interventions relevant to their interests. Videos, lectures, commentary, and PowerPoint presentations of conceptual models explain the past GRC research and theory.

GRC is a phenomena caused by social, technological, religious, and societal changes after the Industrial Revolution. Rapid technological and social change and Feminism have stimulated the deconstruction of traditional gender roles. This change has been upsetting and traumatic for some if not many. This gender role change has been contentious for both sexes and stimulated polarization and intense debates about the meaning of gender role identity, sexual orientations and gender roles. Furthermore, sexist discrimination against women and sexual and racial minorities are intensely debated in the context of gender roles.

We live in a historical period where the damaging “patriarchal binary” of traditional gender roles dangerously conflicts with the demands and stressors in peoples’ contemporary lives, resulting in destructive and dehumanizing effects. In other words, a transitional vacuum exists in which old world stereotypes and traditional gender roles are incompatible with mandated equality between the sexes and the acceptance that human beings can be gendered in many ways and express their sexuality in non-heterosexual orientations. From my perspective, the outcomes of all of this turmoil with gender roles is gender role conflict. This web page reports on what we know about it.

Some History: Where We Have Been and What Is Happening Now?

In February 1972, Edmund Muskie, frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, appeared to shed tears as he responded to attacks on his wife in the press—an incident still remembered as contributing to the subsequent collapse of Muskie’s campaign, as many perceived his reaction as that of a weak and less than rational man unfit to lead the nation. Forty years later, Barack Obama expressed tears of gratitude to his staff for helping him win the 2012 election. This and subsequent occasions when the president openly cried were televised repeatedly on national television, and no one, including the media, accused him of being weak or out of control. Indeed, some saw his emotionality as a sign of strength. “Before you take issue with the president’s tears,” wrote Monica Potts in the American Prospect, shortly after his anguished response to the massacre of schoolchildren and their teachers in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, “remember that Obama’s empathy is always what made him seem most presidential.” [December 14, 2012, http://prospect.org/article/obama-crying, accessed April 3, 2013] “

Over 40 year period, from Muskie to O’Bama, there was a change in attitude about “ presidential emotion”  suggesting that emotions are now considered more human rather than attached to some kind of weakness, feminine stereotype, or political liability.

A paradigm shift is occurring in America with regard to our definition of masculinity, the most visible sign of which is the men who are active and engaging fathers with their sons and daughters (Pleck, 2010). As the incidents recounted above vividly demonstrate, something significant is also happening with how our society perceives male emotions. More than ever before, men are being allowed to be more vulnerable and emotional human beings. This transition is hopeful and important, but painfully slow. This web page represents a call to action to accelerate change and help men overcome the gender role conflict (GRC) that diminishes their human potential.

Context: What Is the GRC Research Program and Gender Role Conflict?

In a time of misinformation, propaganda, and lies, it is important to be clear about what this web page is about.

To avoid misunderstanding and promote clarity, the GRC Research Program is defined by what it does, including:

  1. Investigates how men have been negatively affected by restrictive and sexist gender roles causing GRC
  2. Documents how GRC is a serious mental health problem deserving full attention by caring professionals.
  3. Creates effective programs to empower men, women, and transgendered people to address their GRC using the gender role journey metaphor and other psychological processes.

Video Presentations

Video presentations on specific topics are found throughout the web page. These videos discuss GRC and the gender role journey theory and research. Some of the videos were produced recently and some were created in the early years of the research program.

In this introductory file, two video presentations orient you to this web page.

  • The first shorter one provides information on the web page’s content and how to use it.
  • The second, longer video has more detailed information including how to measure and assess GRC therapeutically, and help people recover from sexism and restrictive gender roles.
  • Other video media on GRC, gender role journey, and other mental health issues are found throughout the web page (See Video Resources– Additional Information section of this web page).

Click here to view videos

Introduction to Gender Role Conflict and Gender Role Journey Web Page – How to use the Web page


Gender Role Conflict, Theory and Research

Important Caveats and Cautions About GRC

I want to be clear on numerous points that are controversial and that need to be accentuated.

The GRC research program does not blame men, negatively stereotype men, or blame them for patriarchal sexism that contributes to their internalized oppression as some have implied in the past. From the beginning my goal has been different: to expose GRC so that men and women can become responsible for their problems and consequently liberate themselves from restricted gender roles and sexism.

To individuals who have suggested that documenting men’s GRC is negatively critiquing men and a disservice, I say this. Researching men’s GRC is different than negatively critiquing men, blaming them, or being anti-male. The research program is not about blame but finding solutions to these complex human problems.

Additionally, women, Feminists, and LBGTQ people are not blamed or scapegoated for men’s GRC. Furthermore, this web page has nothing to do with men’s rights propaganda that has blamed women and Feminists for men’s problems. If anything, I seek to correct their distortions and promote a pro-feminist, gay affirmative, and positive masculinity and human perspective. I am open to dialoguing with these groups as long as there is civility and mutual respect.

The research program has a Feminist foundation and endorses equity between the sexes. Furthermore, the GRC research program is grounded in human rights, that every person should have the freedom to be whoever they are, with their gender roles and gender role identities free from patriarchal and sexist and racist ideologies and institutional structures.

No Panacea Here: Only Contexts To Understand Changing Gender Roles & GRC

GRC is a context to understand the complexity of gender roles in people’s lives. Many people, either consciously or unconsciously, are conflicted by changing gender roles and do not understand how GRC interacts with their gender role beliefs, identities, and sexual orientations. For some people, if not many, non-heterosexual/non binary-queer identities are disturbing to them, because these sexual and gender lifestyles conflict with their religious, familial, or ethnic values. Therefore, all of this can stimulate intense passions about gender roles expressed in the cultural /political wars dynamics of our society that create division, polarization, hate, and violence.

Furthermore, many people are slow (or resistant) to evaluate how gender roles affect their psychological functioning and interpersonal dynamics.

GRC is one portal (i.e, opening) to help men and women explore how conceptions of sex, gender roles, and gender identity, affects their lives. Discussing how to journey with GRC can help normalize the confusion, polarization, and felt threat from changing gender roles and at the same time, help people reflect and act on their values and beliefs in ways that empower them and others. I have seen this empowerment happen with my students who have journeyed with their gender roles in my classes and workshops (Kilmartin, Addis, Mahalik, & O’Neil, 2013; O’Neil & Roberts Carroll, 1988; O’Neil 1996, 2001; Goldberg & O’Neil, 1997; O’Neil, Challenger, Renzulli, Crapser, Webster, 2013).

I do not consider GRC to be a panacea for explaining the complexity of gender roles in our society. There are many gaps in our knowledge about how human gender roles affect psychosocial development, psychopathology, and people’s everyday lives. For example, how gender role identity and sexual bonding patterns relate to GRC and ideologies of masculinity and femininity are in their early stages of development.

Nonetheless, I do believe that GRC concepts do provide opportunities for people to explore their gender roles using an informed, evidence and data based approach that promotes exploration and dialogue about how restrictive gender roles and sexism negatively affect people’s psychological lives.

Gender Role Conflict Theory

GRC theory discusses the complexity of restrictive gender roles in psychological, situational, developmental, multicultural, and political contexts. Theoretical models show these contexts and assumptions and hypotheses about GRC are enumerated on this web page. Both the macro-societal and micro-interpersonal contexts of GRC are discussed.

GRC has been theoretically connected to the macro-societal problems that cause societal injustices and oppression of women, sexual minorities, and people of color. The macro-societal and socio-political perspectives conceptualizes human discrimination, oppression and social injustices as a result of patriarchal norms and institutional structures  that cause  GRC in most societies around the world.

Serious social-political problems at the macro-societal-patriarchal level related to GRC include: fascism, societal violence, personal and sexual violence toward women and sexual minorities, police brutality, oppression, racism, sexism, classism, ethnocentrism, heterosexism, all forms of discrimination, poverty, famine & hunger, social injustice, conflict between nations, war, and genocide. There is considerable evidence in human history and from research that many of these problems relate to men’s gender roles and patriarchal structures that continue to oppress humans at great cost and with much suffering.  Therefore, there is a lot at stake.

On a personal level, the web page is about men and women who are oppressed by restrictive gender roles and patriarchal structures. From this perspective, oppressed people are individuals who are devalued, restricted, and violated because of deviating from or conforming to expected gender roles. They are discriminated against because of their: sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, class, ethnicity, national origin or any other diversity index. Many times the oppressed are those who are not part of the status quo, defined as white, male, heterosexual, middle class, Christian, Eurocentric, and American. Even this status quo patriarchal majority can be oppressed by sexism and patriarchal values because with human discrimination and oppression, psychological costs exist for both the victim and the oppressor. Moreover, the dominant white majority reap economic benefits from oppressive sexist-racist systems causing destructive capitalism and poverty. Few people, whether victims or victimizers are spared from patriarchal abuses and violence in our capitalist society. For sure, it is about, competition, power, control, money, greed, and destructive capitalism.

For more on GRC Theory, Models, Definitions, go to the GRC theory, models, definitions, & contexts by clicking here or using the left navigation menu.

The Gender Role Journey Paradigm

The Gender Role Journey Paradigm, described on this web page, encourages both men and women to live more humanly, free from the shackles of sexist gender role stereotypes and GRC.

The gender role journey is one way for people to discuss (deconstruct) sexist stereotypes and gender roles that limit their human potential and satisfaction in life. Expand here

The research program’s ultimate goal is to empower men and women regardless of how they “identify” with their sex, gender roles, gender role identity, sexual orientation, or any other difference or deviation from white, traditional and heterosexual norms.

Gender Role Conflict Research Methodology

The research program is grounded in social science methodology including psychological, quantitative, qualitative, and evidence based strategies to understand men’s problems and potentials. The Gender Role Conflict Scale (GRCS, O’Neil, Helms, Gable, Davide, Wrightman 1986)) and the Gender Role Journey Measure (GRJM, O’Neil, Egan, Owen, Murray, 1993) assess GRC and help people resolve it. The psychometrics of the GRCS are summarized on this web page and moderators and mediators studies of GRC are reported. Preliminary research models to assess GRC are shown on this web page.

Definition of Gender Role Conflict

Defining GRC theoretically is important because misunderstanding, confusion, and conflict  exist on how sex, gender, gender roles, sexual orientation, and gender role identities are understood in our society.

One of the greatest dilemmas we face is that the public lacks definitions about gender roles and how masculinity and femininity interact with their gender role identities, sexual orientations, and interpersonal processes with others. Ambiguity about gender roles and a lack of operational definitions makes dialogue difficult resulting many times in avoidance, defensiveness, conflict, or denial there is a problem at all.

Definitions of GRC and the gender role journey have evolved from a series of theoretical and research manuscripts published over 35 years (O’Neil, 1981a, 1981b, 1982; 1990; 2008; 2015, O’Neil, Wester, Heesacker, & Snowden, 2017; O’Neil, et al., 1986; O’Neil et al., 1995; O’Neil & Denke, 2017; O’Neil & Egan, 1993; O’Neil & Nadeau, 1999). GRC is measured by the Gender Role Conflict Scale (GRCS; O’Neil, Helms, Gable, David, & Wrightsman, 1986)  and the phases of the gender role journey are assessed by the  Gender Role Journey Measure (GRJM; O’Neil. Egan, Owen, & Murry McBride, 1993).

GRC is defined as a psychological state in which socialized gender roles have negative consequences for the person or others. GRC occurs when rigid, sexist, or restrictive gender roles result in personal restriction, devaluation, or violation of others or oneself (O’Neil, 1981, 2008, 2015 ). The ultimate outcome of this kind of conflict is the restriction of the human potential of the person experiencing it or a restriction of another person’s potential. GRC has been operationally defined by four psychological domains, three situational contexts, and three personal and interpersonal experiences.

For more on GRC Theory, Models, Definitions, go to the GRC theory, models, definitions, & contexts by clicking here or use the left menu to navigate.

Topics & Number of GRC Studies Using the Gender Role Conflict Scale

Table 1 show the number of studies completed on GRC using the GRCS. Empirical studies that have used the Gender Role Conflict Scale (GRCS) total to 585 and 263 of these studies have been published in the psychological literature. Dissertations or master theses have been completed in 322 studies. Over 160 papers have been presented at the annual APA convention meetings. Internationally, a 130 empirical studies have been completed on men outside the United States and 51 of these studies have been published in the psychological literature. The GRCS has been used in over 25 different countries and translated into 20 languages.

Table 1  show the number of GRC studies in the following cluster categories: Overall Demographics, Diversity, Intersectionality, and Multicultural, Psychological Correlates, Physical and Psychological Health,  GRC Special Topics,  GRC Special  Groups including vulnerable men.

From O’Neil et al., 1986

Overall Demographic Summary of GRC Studies
File Topic Number of Publications on Each GRC Topic
Total Number of Studies Using the GRCS 585
Published Journal Studies Using GRCS (1984-2023) 263
Dissertations Completed on GRC (1988-2023) 322
Critiques of GRC Theory & Research 24
Published GRC Research Models 5
Summary Publications of GRC Empirical Research 7
Gender Role Conflict Theory 14
Gender Role Journey Measure & Theory 14
Diversity, Intersectionality, and Multicultural Studies
Identities: Racial, Ethnic, Sexual, Gender, Religious, & Political 22
African American Men 29
Hispanic American Men 15
Asian American Men 10
Mixed Race Studies 6
White Caucasian, American Men 373
International Men (Outside the United States) 130
Published Journal Publications/Papers 51
Dissertations 61
Presented at APA Conventions 18
Gay Men (published studies) 24
Gay Men (dissertations) 19
Bisexual Men 4
Transgendered Men/Women 2
Woman’s Gender Role Conflict 17
Age Differences 8
Therapy, Clients, Therapists, Counselor/Psychologist Training (journal publications) 49
Therapy, Clients, Therapists, Counselor/Psychologist Training (dissertations) 23
Psychoeducation Interventions with GRC 16
Evaluated Psychoeducational Programs with GRC 21
Psychological Correlates of GRC (1986-2013)
Depression 34
Anxiety and Stress 30
Help Seeking Attitudes 32
Low Self-Esteem 20
Alcohol & Substance Abuse 11
Shame & Guilt 6
Stigma 8
Intimacy, Self-disclosure, and
Relationships With Father
Marital Satisfaction, Family
Dynamics, & Couples’ GRC
Discrimination & Internalized Oppression 7
Negative Attitudes, abuse, Violence Toward
Women & Others
Attachment, Bonding, & Family Individuation 14
Hopelessness, Self-Destructiveness & Suicide 6
Traditional Attitudes Women 5
Stereotyping & Sex Role Egalitarianism 11
Biases Against Sexual and Racial Minorities 6
Men's Physical and Psychological Health Correlates of GRC
Health & Medical Issues 19
Nursing & Medical Practice 9
Cancer 7
Sexuality 11
Substance Use and Abuse 23
Violence and Abuse 34
Suicide & Self-Destructiveness 10
Trauma and PTSD 5
Internalized Homophobia, Heterosexism, Homonegativity, & Anti-Gay Attitudes 13
Stigma 18
Gendered & Perceived Racism: Discrimination and Oppression 10
Coping 11
GRC Special Topics
Men’s Relations with Women, Children, & Family 10
Career Development and Work 15
Muscularity & Body Image 7
Psychodynamics 4
Spiritual Wellbeing, Religious Orientation, & Fundamentalism 10
GRC Special Groups
Adolescent Boys and High School Students 24
Police Officers, Fire Fighters 6
Homeless and Incarcerated Men 8
Athletes, Athletic Identity, Sports 9
Fathers-Sons -Fathering 24
Sex Offenders 3
Couples Interaction/Dynamics 8
Older Men 14
Military Men & Veterans 7


What Has the Gender Role Conflict Research Found?

You are referred to five summaries of GRC research over the years for a full answer to this question (O’Neil 2008, 2013, 2015, O’Neil & Denke, 2017, O’Neil, Holmes, & Good, 1995).

Overall, the research completed indicates that men's gender role conflict is associated with a host of salient psychological problems that negatively affect both men's and women's lives. The results of the studies reviewed indicate rather convincing case that masculinity ideology and GRC have significant relationships to psychological problems for both boys and men. The results across many studies point to significant relationships between masculinity ideology and GRC and negative psychological outcomes for both men and others. GRC and masculine ideology has been significantly correlated with negative attitudes toward women and gays; violent attitudes toward women; dangerous risk taking with sex and health issues; substance use and abuse; psychological stress and strain; negative attitudes toward help seeking; delinquent behavior; low self-esteem; hostility and aggression; higher blood pressure levels; depression; anxiety; and marital and family problems to just name a few.

A consistent pattern of significant findings suggest that GRC is related to negative interpersonal problems for men and others. The overall results indicate that GRC significantly relates to dysfunctional patterns in men’s relationships including interpersonal restrictions, attachment problems, and marital dissatisfaction. Furthermore, couples’ dynamics, family interaction patterns, and problems with intimacy and self-disclosure have all been significantly related to GRC.

Moreover, the studies indicate that GRC is related to restrictive and negative attitudes towards women, gays, and in one study, racial minorities. Even more striking and disturbing is that GRC has been significantly correlated with positive attitudes towards sexual harassment, rape myths, hostile sexism, and self-reported sexual and dating violence towards women. The results suggest that GRC significantly relates to dysfunctional and dangerous interpersonal outcomes for men and others. The research supports what feminists have communicated for years about how restrictive gender roles are potential mental health issues for both men and women.

The web page summarizes these past studies so that researchers can access the database, evaluate the studies, and create their own research or interventions.

Does the GRC Research Support the Need For Compassionate Service Delivery for Boys and Men ?

Services for boys and men are needed and mandated by the research evidence that GRC relates to men’s psychological and interpersonal problems. There are few, if any, national or state wide strategic plans to meet men’s needs as they encounter changing gender roles. The lack of service delivery for men and boys perpetuates serious problems in families, schools, and on our campuses. The jury is still out whether public schools and Higher Education professionals will address boy’s and men’s problems. Telling the truth about boys and men requires a paradigm shift and higher consciousness about the effects of sexism on them. The real challenge is to fully accept that boys and men are a special group that need help and support.  Whether education can change its service delivery to help vulnerable boys and men who are negatively affected by socialized sexism is unclear. How many more school shootings, acts of campus violence, rapes, male suspensions and dropouts, and gay boy’s suicides will it take to understand that masculinity ideologies and GRC are directly relevant to these serious problems? Is our inaction in this vital area part of our denial and backlash against men and boys? When will we fully understand that sexism has negative consequences for everyone? Can we acknowledge this without creating a zero sum game that pits men and women against each other?

I address these issues in the video “A Call to Action for More Programs and Services to Help Men and Boys"
Video link: Call to Action for Boys and Men.

How Can the Web Page Help You?

The 25 separate web files described below can be useful to researchers and clinicians in numerous ways. Each file is briefly discussed to explain what is in each one. You can find the full information for each category in the navigation menu to the left.

Overall Information on GRC: Position Paper, Video Presentations, New Books On GRC, Interview, GRC History and Reflections

This file has overall information on GRC and includes a position paper on why GRC is important. Two videos presentation on GRC are also in this file. The first video summarizes the first chapter in O’Neil (2015) and the second one is a call for action for more programs and services to help men and boys.

Next, three published books on GRC are summarized including the first book on women’s GRC (Pommper, 2017). A published interview at UCONN on GRC is also found in this file and 3 publications that summarize GRC’s history over the years can be downloaded.

GRC Theory, Models, Definitions, & Contexts

The citations in this section identify references on the published GRC theory. GRC definitions, domains, experiences, and the situational contexts are presented.

The early models and theory about GRC in the 1970s’ and 1980s’ and the evolution of the different conceptualizations over the decades are discussed.

The references and models are relevant when theorizing about how gender roles and GRC relates to men’s intrapsychic, intrapersonal, interpersonal and situational dynamics.

Most Recent Published GRC Studies & Dissertations

The most recently published journal articles and dissertations on GRC are listed in this file. The references represent the most current topics being researched empirically. I want to identify current researchers who may be helpful to you in networking and showcase their research.

Published Journal Studies (1986- present)

All the published journal studies (n=263) using the Gender Role Conflict Scale (GRCS) are presented in this file. The references should be useful to researchers and clinicians conducting critical literature reviews, seeking documentation on GRC, or citing evidence that GRC is related to negative consequences for men and women.

Dissertations Completed (1988- present)

All the dissertations/theses (n=322) completed using the Gender Role Conflict Scale (GRCS) are presented in this file. The references should be useful to any researcher or clinician conducting critical literature reviews, seeking documentation on GRC, or citing evidence that GRC is related to negative consequences for men and women.

Symposia & Research Studies Presented at APA (1980-2015)

In this file are the past APA symposia presented on GRC at the American Psychological Association conventions from 1980- 2015.  The citations of these symposia, the presenters, and their papers are listed. Other theoretical and empirical papers on GRC presented the APA convention over the years are also summarized. These listings provide a partial summary of the many researchers who were actively involved in empirical research on men’s GRC over the years

International Studies on GRC

GRC has been studied in 32 countries and the GRCS has been translated into 15 different languages. The 130 international publications in this file are valuable to researchers internationally and investigators making GRC cross cultural comparisons. This file also has two manuscripts on my GRC work with Russian psychologists during my Fulbright experience back in 1992 and a power point summary on the international studies from 1986-2011.Translations of the GRCS in various languages are available for download. See the “Receiving International Translations of the GRCS” on this web page.

Diversity, Intersectionality, Multicultural, & Gender Identity Published Studies

This file provides GRC references on diversity including indices of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, various aspects of identity, age, class, women, and men outside the United States. To manage these many indices, topical clusters were created. Table 2 show the diversity clusters for 14 groups of men or relevant demographics related to intersectionality.

The diversity file is useful to multicultural researchers and practitioners because GRC has been documented in many diverse samples of American men as well as men in other countries.  This file also summarizes the correlates, moderator, and mediators of GRC for minority men.

Additionally, in the cluster file “Physical and Psychological Health Correlates of GRC” section of this web page are found additional research on how GRC relates to discrimination, racial and sexual bias, oppression, violence against both men and women.

Three video presentations on diversity, multiculturalism, and social-political issues are in this file. One explains the multicultural psychology of men model (O’Neil, 2015) and the second video addresses why diversity and multiculturalism are important issues.

The third video discusses transnational feminism as another way to understand how masculinity issues interact with a host of socio-political and international problems that go unresolved in our world. The content in this third video is quite preliminary and therefore the ideas about transnational feminism will require more thought and reflection.

Psychometrics of the Gender Role Conflict Scale (GRCS)

The psychometric file provides the construct validity evidence on the GRCS for researchers seeking reliability and validity information. This file has a complete listing of all the confirmatory factor analyses completed on the GRCS with diverse men, including men in countries outside the United States. Additionally, GRC norms and reliability data across various diverse samples are also summarized in this file. A summary of the dependent variables that GRC has been correlated with in 200 studies from 1986-2006 is presented in this file. All the moderators and mediator studies related to GRC are presented with research citations.

GRC Research Hypotheses, Questions, and Contexts To Be Explored

This part of the web page guides future researchers in conceptualizing research hypotheses using a contextual perspective. Thirty-two research questions related to GRC are presented to stimulate more predictive, moderating, mediating, and situational studies.  Additionally, to generate new hypotheses, six generative contexts are discussed including these topics: macros-societal, psycho-social-developmental, multicultural & situational, gender related, research, and therapeutic/psychoeducational.

Situational Research Studies

Situational research on GRC is needed and this file has been prepared to shed light on how GRC develops and is acted out in men’s real life experiences.  The question is “How, when, and why does GRC occur in men’s lives?”. Past criticism is reviewed that GRC research has been simple using mainly correlational data. A rationale for situational research is presented and conceptual research models are shown to generate more studies. Eight empirical studies that assessed situational GRC are abstracted.

Eight Research Questions/Hypotheses on GRC & Empirical Evidence

This file addresses 7 research questions about men’s GRC by citing correlational, moderation, and mediation studies.

The first research questions relate to masculinity ideology and GRC statistical relationship to men’s psychological and interpersonal  problems. Two other questions focus on whether both minority men and non-minority  men’s GRC relates to gender role devaluations, restrictions, and violations. Another question addresses whether diversity and multicultural indices correlate, moderate, or mediate men’s GRC. The final question addresses situational research and GRC.

References in assessing these 7 questions are also listed for researchers’ easy access to specific studies.

Important Clusters/Categories of GRC Research References

Many of the GRC studies are now clustered into specific topic areas related to GRC. The clusters are helpful to researchers by collecting together, in one place, similar studies on many variables that have been significantly correlated with GRC.

The four clusters are: a) Psychological Correlates of GRC, b) Physical and Psychological Health Correlates of GRC, c) special groups and GRC, d) special topics & GRC. The arrows pointing to GRC (See Figure 1) establish that clusters of GRC empirical research studies exist on each topic. The file lists the references  in each topic area for quick access to the many studies on the same dependent variable.


Psychological Correlates of GRC

This file has references to the 15 psychological correlates of GRC from published empirical studies from 1986-2013. Overall, the research provides evidence that these correlates are significantly correlated to GRC with only a few studies finding non-significant results. More recent studies on these correlates are found in the published research and dissertation section of this web page.chart showing the different categories of psychological correlates

Men’s Physical and Psychological Health Correlates of GRC

This file lists references on men’s physical and psychological health problems and GRC including: violence, discrimination, gendered racism, anti-gay attitudes, internalized homophobia/heterosexism/ homonegativity, trauma, suicide, stigma and substance abuse. Many of these studies indicate that GRC is empirically related to these problem areas for men.

This file is also useful to researchers and clinicians studying how societal discrimination, violence, trauma, and human oppression (racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, ethnocentrism) relate to patriarchal sexism, GRC, people’s real pain.

The current turmoil with societal violence, racism, heterosexism, ethnocentrism, sexual orientation, and gender identity make this file timely because the empirical evidence indicates that GRC relates to men’s health in the context of personal and interpersonal problems.

Special Groups & GRC

This file lists references for 13 groups of men, many of them being vulnerable populations. ADD from book

References to couple’s GRC are also listed. Major special groups are presented in this file but not all groups of men who experience GRC.

Special Topics & GRC

This file enumerates references to five important topics in men’s lives including men’s relationships with women, children, & family; career and spiritual life; muscularity and body image; and men’s psychodynamics. These previously researched topics vary from a few studies to many.

Published Research Models Assessing GRC and Hypotheses To be Tested

This file shows GRC research models and the narratives and references that describe them. Hypotheses about GRC are enumerated and how moderator, mediator, and situational variables are assessed is discussed. These research models and hypotheses are in evolution and promote more complex research designs, specifically studies that focus on how GRC develops psychosocially and situationally in men’s lives.

GRC Empirical Research Summary Publications

This file is useful to researchers who want critical summaries of the GRC Research Program across the many empirical studies. Seven journal publications or book chapters from 1995 to 2017 provide critical summaries of the past empirical research.

A video presentation “40 Years of the Gender Role Conflict Research Program” is available with a special focus on empirical research from 2013-2016. I also provide some memories about developing the research program in this video.


Published Critiques of the GRCS & GRC Theory

This file summarizes references to the past criticism of GRC and the GRCS. GRC has been of interest to researchers and sometimes controversial and misunderstood. Over 20 critiques of GRC have been published in the literature and they are listed in this file.  I provide my commentary on the critiques and correct some of the reactions and misconceptions about GRC over the years.

GRC Clinically Focused Models, Journal Studies, & Dissertations

This file provides references on clients with GRC and role of therapists in helping them.

A conceptual model is shown for therapists to use when assessing men’s GRC during therapy or during psychoeducational interventions.

Additionally, a nine-cell diagnostic schema to assess men’s experience of GRC is discussed. Two models to assess father’s GRC during therapy are also presented.

The file closes with journal publications and dissertations on helping men with GRC in therapy and during the therapeutic process.

Also see the file “Gender Role Journey Theory, Therapy & Research” for more information on using GRC in a psychotherapeutic and psychoeducational context.

Psychoeducational Interventions With GRC

In this file, psychoeducational GRC programs and their evaluations are referenced. Examples of these programs are provided and references on how to help men and women with their GRC using psychoeducational methods are listed.

A video presentation about psychoeducation, (what it is and how you do it), is available for download as well as a video on how I use psychoeducation in my psychology of men class (EPSY 6304) at UConn.

Gender Role Journey Theory, Therapy, & Research

This file provides definitions and theory about the gender role journey. The gender role journey, gender role transitions, and gender role schemas are defined.  A developmental model of masculinity is presented and 50 gender role transitions across the lifespan are enumerated.  The gender role deconstruction and the gender role transformational processes are defined.  The published research on the Gender Role Journey Measure (GRJM, O’Neil et al., 1993) are listed.

Furthermore, the principles and parameters of Gender Role Journey Therapy are presented and include therapeutic strategies to resolve GRC patterns using the gender role journey metaphor.

The gender role journey workshop, implemented each year from 1984-2006, is described and the evaluations of this intervention are reported (O’Neil & Roberts Carroll, 1988).

Receiving Different Forms of the GRCS

The different forms of the GRCS (short, long, adolescent, female, ect.) are in the file. They are available for download after filling out a release form and sending it to me.

Receiving International Translation of the GRCS

The international translations of the GRCS into languages other than English (n = 20) are available for download after filling out a release form and sending it to me.

Teaching the Psychology of Men Resources

This file lists references on teaching the psychology of men and how GRC and masculinity ideology can be taught in academic classes and community settings. Seven journal articles from a special issue in the Psychology of Men and Masculinities on teaching the psychology of men are listed (O’Neil & Renzulli, & Liu 2013).  Links to the Teaching the Psychology of Men Web page are found here and the work of Committee on Teaching the Psychology of Men of SPSMM from 2003 to 2011 is discussed. Education in public schools and Higher Education on GRC and masculinity ideology is recommended to help students understand how restrictive gender roles can be psychologically and interpersonally dysfunctional.

Video Lectures & Other Resources

In this section the video lectures and curriculum used to educate people about the Gender Role Journey are found. The curriculum and videos used in my course: EPSY 6304 – Psychology of Men & Boys In Counseling and Education and are available for download. Click here for the syllabus for EPSY 6304. Visit this page for videos.

Psychoeducation and GRC

Final Thoughts

Below, please see important final thoughts related to GRC.

Final Thoughts: Truths

A number of important truths emerged when revising the web page over the years. One is that human qualities are, without question, more healthy and functional than those assigned to men and women by stereotypes of masculinity and femininity that emanate from patriarchal values. Restrictive stereotypes have outlived their utility; they serve no function, nor do they offer any survival value they might have had (assuming they ever had any) over the centuries. Restricted gender roles impede human development, dehumanize both men and women, and, under many circumstances, victimize men, women, and children.


Unfortunately, political, economic, and religious factions that want to control human behavior and set society’s priorities according to repressive ideologies that endorse restricted gender roles. Before feminism, no collective consciousness existed about the perils of sexist stereotypes that cause GRC . There has been some progress over the years, but even now public awareness of the peril of sexism appears to ebb and flow based on social and political dynamics in our society. Only a persistent and critical deconstruction of these damaging stereotypes in patriarchal societies can reverse the negative effects of sexism, GRC, and restrictive gender roles in people’s lives.

My position is that gender role conflict is dehumanizing to both men and women. GRC is one way to explain the dehumanization and promote social and political change.

The greatest obstacle to the change with gender  roles is a failure to see men (and women) as full human beings. In psychology, men have been studied not as gendered human beings but as generic persons based on stereotypes (Kimmel, 2011; Smiler 2006). The study of men as gendered human beings is a relatively new phenomenon in psychology. Men’s GRC has gone unexplored because men’s lived experiences with gender roles have not been theoretically and  empirically studied.

Final Thoughts: What Is At Stake?

I want to be clear at the end of this introduction about what is at stake with researching GRC.

Sexist, restrictive, and oppressive stereotypes of masculinity and femininity no longer sustain the human race. Patriarchal sexism and stereotypes are outdated, dangerous, and potentially violent. The evidence is everywhere whether it be: the epidemic violence against women and men; bombs destroying a whole nation in Europe and the Middle East; famines in Africa; addiction and sexual violence; climate change denial; and the mass shooting every day in America.

At the macro-societal and the micro-interpersonal levels, GRC needs to be understood as part of the societal violence, social injustices, and polarization in our society.

Some or maybe much of the violence is about patriarchal sexism and the male gender role. My analysis of the data and my clinical experience support this categorical statement but everyone needs to determine their own position on these issues.

What can we do? For sure, more research on men and more effective programs to help them are critically needed.

The patriarchy is unlikely to be dismantled without factual knowledge about gender roles from the social sciences. Documented GRC needs to be part of the discussion. Furthermore, consciousness raising about gender roles need to be an educational priority and translated into action plans if gender justice is to occur in our democracy.

Moreover, we need to listen to each other more and find common ground to dialogue about gender roles. The factual knowledge about gender roles from the social sciences needs to be part of this dialogue.

Without question, talking about gender roles is highly controversial and politically polarizing in 2024.

In some states of our country legislation is being passed to prohibit the very discussion and study of gender roles recommended with this web page.

Books are being banned and teachers are being threatened for what they teach.  This kind of censorship is the antithesis of our democratic principles and a real masculine threat.

For these reasons, I invite you to get involved in any way you can. Let me know if I can help in any way.

I hope this introduction to the web page is useful to you in planning research studies, doing therapy, or psychoeducationa programming.  I want to thank the hundreds of friends, colleagues, researcher and their mentors for the many contributions to this research database. I take credit for starting this research program, but the success of the gender role conflict research program really belongs to the hundreds of graduate students and researchers who conducted the research over the last 40 years. I want to thank each and every person who believed that we could assess men’s gender role conflict through the Gender Role Conflict Scale.